Deceiving the brain is no easy task.
But it comes naturally to Caryn Truppman now.
As a Feldenkrais practitioner the Pt Chevalier resident has spent the last 20 years breaking people’s muscular habits and creating better easier ways to move.
‘‘One of the ways you do that is you take the movement out of the normal frame of reference and the brain doesn’t know what you are doing,’’ she says.
‘‘You are teasing the brain, tricking the brain to create new movement patterns and new neural pathways.’’
Since starting out in 1995 she has carved out a niche working with children, especially those who have conditions which affect learning or movement development like cerebral palsy.
‘‘My job is to set little sparks so the child self ignites,’’ she says.
And if that moment happens, it makes everything worthwhile.
‘‘You give these children the possibility to develop those movements that they can’t do on their own and all the other things start to come into play.’’
‘‘If I give a nervous system, your nervous system, information to make something easier it will take it up.’’
When Truppman started her four year training she already had degrees in biology and early childhood education under her belt and was looking for something ‘‘intellectually rigorous’’ to sink her teeth into.
Moshe Feldenkrais was born in the Ukraine in 1904 and moved to Palestine as a teenager.
He boasted both a doctorate in applied physics and a black belt in judo.
After a severe sports injury he devoted the rest of his life to studying the structure and function of the human nervous system and came up with a way to increase awareness of and correct poor habits in how we move.
He believed most of us use our bodies inefficiently but that the human brain has extraordinary capacity to relearn and change.
And so there’s a lot of talk about replacing limited and disorganised movement patterns and creating new neural pathways.
Truppman says it has led to a career that is always interesting.
‘‘No two people do anything the same. We are all different. It is fascinating to see what people do,’’ she says.
‘‘If you sprain an ankle you make a slight adjustment, that is why as people get a little older they’ve a sprained ankle, they’ve done a knee, they’ve done this and that and have all these little adjustments.’’
The Miami native says they aren’t always the best adjustments and that is because in today’s society people don’t have to do much to get better.
‘‘You don’t have to go and chase an antelope for your dinner, you just have to make it to the car.
‘‘The nervous system is lazy, it just does exactly what it needs to get back to function, and that is it, it doesn’t care about perfect function.’’
It was a dance injury that set Truppman on the path to learning the method.
‘‘I had this injury and I’d been seeing people for it for some time. I had two Feldenkrais sessions and that was it.’’
She says it is the very real results of banishing pain, feeling lighter and more limber that convert people to the method.
‘‘With Feldenkrais we care that you have beautiful function and we will work for beautiful function, that is the difference. And then, of course, you don’t have pain.’’
Go to feldenkrais-auckland.co.nz for more information.